Independent artists are taking over as global music grows $1.4 billion

Streaming continues to revitalise the music industry as new reports show one-and-a-half billion dollars of growth globally last year alone.

The latest report from Midia Research shows a monumental year of growth for the worldwide music industry last year. Global recorded music revenues in 2017 reached $17.4 billion, up from $16 billion in 2016 which represents 8.5% of annual growth and $1.4 billion for the year.

This continues a trend of continuous growth within the music industry in recent years, aided massively by the giant rise in music streaming. This resurgence in music revenues follows around 20 years of declines in profits but with last years growth music industry revenues are just slightly below where they were 10 years ago in 2008 ($17.7 billion).

Midia’s report show that streaming is growing 39% year-on-year, adding a whopping $2.1 billion in revenues for a total of $7.4 billion in streaming revenues worldwide. Streaming revenue is so large that it now makes up almost half of the total industry revenues, representing 43% of the global industry’s earnings.

On the other hand physical music (ie. CDs) and digital download sales have been dropping, with a decline of $783 million in 2017. Fortunately the success of music streaming is heavily offsetting that reduction. Whilst CDs continue to plummet not all physical music is in dire straits as vinyl record sales continue to soar upwards as the format finds new life in collectors and hipsters alike – and genuine music lovers too.

Independent Artists Reign

Our favourite section of the report shows that label-less music is booming. Independent music was the fastest growing section of the music industry with 27.2% year-on-year growth for music going directly through distributors like RouteNote and independent platforms like Bandcamp. Revenues for artists without a label representing/managing them have been properly included for the first time in a global recorded music revenues report as their collective earnings now stand at almost half a billion dollars.

For 2017 independent labels and artists represented 30.3% of the global recorded music revenues. Whilst major labels still have a strong grip on the industry, more and more people are realising the opportunities available without a big record label. We can see in pop culture today the dramatic difference in how artists are getting famous and releasing their music, whereas just 10-20 years ago you’d be unlikely to hear of anyone not signed to a major without going underground.

Independent music is making it’s mark, and you can too by getting your music on to all the top stores and streaming services online completely for free – and no-one takes ownership over your music but you.

Find out more at

An anonymous donor just gave KEXP radio $10 million after dying

KEXP radio station just received what is thought to be the largest legacy donation to one station in public radio history.

An anonymous donor has just bequeathed the largest donation to an individual radio station, as far as we know, ever. We only know her name was Suzanne and that she loved music, so much so that after her death she has donated just less than $10 million to Seattle radio station KEXP, who’ve gained worldwide notoriety for their live sessions online.

KEXP’s director of development, Betsy Troutman was called to Suzanne’s attorney’s office to be told about the donation – Troutman and Suzanne appear to have known each other, Troutman says that Suzanne donated to them on and off from 2010. Troutman said: “It’s pretty intense. I was shocked and started crying. The thought that she would do this is mind-blowing to me.”

She continued: “[Suzanne] had shared with me once or twice, kind of casually, that she had made plans for KEXP in her estate. But she was young and I said, ‘Oh, that’s amazing. Thank you very much.’ I didn’t think that it would come when I was here.” She says the donation is “transformational. It changes our whole landscape. I still get goose bumps every time I think about it”.

KEXP will hold the majority of the money in a long term reserve which they will use to help fund educational programs. Their programs will be “aimed at inspiring younger audiences to engage their curiosity around music; services and programming for emerging artists; media-creation experiences for aspiring DJs and music journalists, and outreach activities aimed at deepening KEXP’s connections to local communities”.

Some of the money will also be used to fund and evolve KEXP’s digital content and improve their radio services in general. The new investment has led to the creation of ‘The Reverb Society’, a “giving club” that allows donors to KEXP to include the station in their estate.

KEXP executive director, Tom Mara says Suzanne’s legacy will live through KEXP and the enhancements her donation will bring. Mara says: “Once you feel the stun from this, then you begin to realise that Suzanne is going to be here for decades to come. But that gets married with a higher level of seriousness. These dollars have to be stewarded well and managed in the most effective way to make an impact. We’re trying to honour her spirit by applying those funds to directly supporting artists as well.”

Suzanne was well known around the station despite requesting to remain anonymous for her donation. Mara says that when their new station was under construction he showed her around and told her to sign a piece of drywall with a Sharpie. “She said ‘No,’ but gracefully,” says Mara but eventually she gave in. “And now we get to walk around with her name, literally, in the building.”

How do people listen to your music in 2018?

It’s 2018, a lot has changed since recorded music began some 100 years ago and a lot of that change has come in the past 20 years. With music having transformed so much in recent years, how do people discover new music now?

It’s crazy to think that nearly all of the music we listen to every day, even the classics we know and love, comes from less than 100 years ago. Depending on how eclectic your tastes are, and if you’re a classical buff or not, most of it probably comes from the last 50 years or less. It’s still fresh and as such the way we experience music is constantly changing.

In the past 10 years the spreading popularity of digital platforms like downloads and streaming services have completely changed the way people listen to music. The radio was your discovery, and Vinyl records, then tapes, then CDs were how you listened to music on demand. Now almost every piece of music that has ever existed is at the tap of a keyboard and it’s changing the way we listen.

Whilst a potentially surprising 85% of people still listen to the radio and discover music on it, streaming platforms growth is monumental and showing no signs of slowing. Just to hit home how popular music streaming is, it has created the first rise in revenues for the music industry in countries all around the world for 20 years.

Considering it’s still fairly new technology for a lot of people, and there are free options for certain streaming services, a considerable amount of people now pay for music streaming subscriptions showing it’s worth and value to listeners. New stats suggest that 43% of people in the UK pay for music streaming services whilst in the US that number is even higher with 48% of the population subscribed to an audio service.

Check out Burstimo’s graphs below for more info on how people are listening to music in this new age of consumption. Check out Burstimo’s site for more insights and also take a look at their potential for music promotion:

Burstimo music industry graph streaming data downloads radio streams purchases downloads

How this artist went from thousands to hundreds-of-thousands of streams in one month

Borrtex thought there was a mistake in his stats but one Spotify playlist shot his streams up to near a million with one track.

As streaming services become the one place we go to for music, playlists are becoming the new albums in their power and influence. 18 year old producer and composer Borrtex (Daniel Bordovský) from Prague, who uses RouteNote to get his music on the top music stores and services, has experienced what a playlist can do first hand after being selected for Spotify’s massive Sleep playlist with 2.2 million followers, one of Spotify’s own hand-curated playlists.

In that moment his music was suddenly put in front of an audience of 2.2 million new potential listeners. Borrtex said: “I first thought it was some kind of mistake! I didn’t get any notification until the second day, so I thought there was something wrong with the numbers in the Spotify for Artists app. But the next day, when I got an official email from Spotify saying my track was added to one of the biggest playlists out there, I realised it’s real!”

Borrtex artist streaming success Spotify playlist growth new listeners streams

When we asked what it was like seeing his track in one of Spotify’s biggest playlists, Borrtex said: “I remember being super happy about the news! It’s like you are working on something for a year and then the moment of exposure is here and you know that the hard work finally does payoff!”

Before his recent track We Are Saved was added to Sleep Borrtex was steadily building an audience with consistent releases of amazing production that have been featured in over 1000 projects including documentaries and short films. But being put in front of millions of new listeners is an exciting new step, earning hundreds of thousands of streams every week since being added. You can see below just how impressive the track’s growth was after joining the playlist.

Borrtex artist streaming success Spotify playlist growth new listeners streams

We spoke to Borrtex a bit more about his music and the journey to where he is today as things look to start rocketing forward for his music.

How did you start making music?

I started early in May of 2017 when I arrived from Los Angeles. Me and my friend had an amazing opportunity to speak to a few of the best worldwide known film composers there. We visited the studio of Danny Elfman and James Newton Howard. Later on we also were invited to have lunch with James, so it was truly inspiring to see how these great film composers work on a professional basis.

Borrtex composer film soundtrack artist producer spotify playlist streaming success sleep
Borrtex with James Netwon Howard at his home

At that time, I was a film maker. I was focused more on doing documentaries, and we were invited to LA to shoot a short documentary about working in Hollywood. But when I got back home I thought more about doing music as I have a musical background from my childhood; I used to play the piano as a kid. And one day I simply decided I want to try to write my own melody and things went quite well, so later that month, I ended up releasing my first EP with 3 tracks.

What are the inspirations that have shaped you and your music?

As I mentioned, my biggest inspiration to start writing my own music was James Newton Howard. Without his generosity and kindness to show us his studio, I’m not sure if I was here now as a composer. I remember being very fascinated not so much by the music but more by his personality and by the way he can express part of himself in the music he composes.

When it comes to other artists who inspire me, it’s definitely Hans Zimmer who I got to meet in June 2017. It was like a dream coming true. Me meeting the most popular film composer in the world? I couldn’t believe it! I also think the big part that brought me to film music is also my deep interest in movies themselves. Since I was 15 years old, I just loved watching films and TV series.

Borrtex composer film soundtrack artist producer spotify playlist streaming success sleep
Borrtex with Hans Zimmer
What is it that you love about music and making it?

The best thing about making music is the freedom I get as an artist. My creative process is just the way I want it to be, I can go out and get some inspiration from nature, or I can stay at home and just improvise. I can adjust it by my own needs and I can fully express myself along with my feelings and ideas. And that’s what I really love about it! Also, playing the piano is simply the one activity when I get completely lost in the moment and forget what time it is.

I can do it for hours a day and I’m still having fun while writing new tunes. The goal I have with my instrumental music is to help people bring the emotion to their lives. Sometimes you don’t feel like singing, so there is my music to support you, it’s here to make the perfect emotional background for your situation. I heard from some of my fans that my music helps them to stay calm and relaxed or that it just helps them focus better while studying. And reading all those messages gives me a reason to never stop composing.

What are your plans for the future?

After the graduation, I hope to finally have more time to compose. I’m not sure what exactly will happen, but you definitely can expect me to release a new album along with a few singles and maybe also EP by the end of this year. I also have some film scoring projects coming, so I will be working on my first feature film where it will be me who takes care about the music!

What advice would you give to other up-and-coming artists?

This is a great question! I think the biggest and most important piece of advice is to work hard and be patient. If you work on yourself every day, you get better with every track you release, and if you are patient enough to not stop producing, then I can promise you, good things are on its way.

At the beginning the problem is, you don’t get the exposure you deserve; nobody knows you. But as you are developing your skills and you have a decent social media presence then things change. Yes you do start with small numbers but if you persist, then it starts raising and in a moment, before you realise it, you have hundreds of thousands of streams!

So, believe in yourself, be good in communication (with fans but also with people who inspire you) and be patient, don’t give up.

Find more Borrtex

Website –

Facebook –

YouTube –

SoundCloud –

RouteNote and RudeLies make the sound of your workout

One of our artists, RudeLies has been added to the massive Spotify playlist Fit mit Beat to pump you up for your workout.

Fit mit Beat has over 300,000 followers tuning in weekly to get them pumped with energy for a workout, or just getting hyped in general if you fancy. The Spotify hosted German playlist this week is graced by electronic duo RudeLies latest track WTR.

We’re always so happy when an artist using RouteNote gets selected by Spotify for being amazing. Being featured in playlists on Spotify can do massive things for artists and we think that RudeLies’ 300,000 new listeners are going to quickly become longtime fans of the incredible, energetic producers.

Robin Knaak, another artist with RouteNote also made it onto the popular New Music Friday official Spotify playlist in Indonesia with nearly 100,000 returning listeners. His latest hit Cover It Up will get you in the mood for summer with it’s chill, melodic vibes setting the perfect poolside scene.

Spotify are always searching for new music to feature in any of their hundreds of massive playlists and refresh them with the latest tunes each week. When you upload your music to Spotify with RouteNote you have a chance of getting selected by Spotify to be put in front of millions of new ears.

Get your music out there and on to all of the top music stores and streaming services online, all for free at

This smashed up Fender Stratocaster guitar will cost you $75,000

The smashed up body of a 1964 Fender Stratocaster is up for auction at eye-watering prices but if it can’t be played, Who made it so expensive?

That was a terrible joke because the guitar in question is one of Pete Townshend’s many destroyed guitars that faced the wrath of his stage destruction. The pioneer of pummelling guitars into the ground, Townshend’s Stratocaster body comes in 2 parts after he smashed it at The Who’s 1967 concert in Long Island Arena in Commack, New York.

The Who Pete Townshend guitar auction fender stratocaster

The guitar is up for auction through Heritage Auctions who say that other smashed up guitar’s from The Who guitarist have gone for as much as $75k. An intact Fender from 1964 without any celebrity claim will still go for around $14,000 in auctions. The lucky buyer of the Sonic Blue Strat’s remains will also get a handwritten statement from Townshend about the events of that evening and how the guitar came to be smashed.

The Who Pete Townshend guitar auction fender stratocaster

As well as the smashed Stratocaster, one of Townshend’s few surviving guitars is up for auction as well. His 1965 Gibson SG Special is going up for auction on the 23rd April and has suffered surprisingly little damage over the years in the hands of one of music’s most notorious instrument wreckers.

If you feel like you might be able to cough up enough cash to have a chance at owning the broken Stratocaster then you can bid on it now at Heritage Auctions. No bids have been made yet and there’s 9 days left. The opening bid will only cost you $10,000…

How to protect your music and understand copyright laws

Music copyrights can seem like a confusing and dangerous system but with a basic understanding you can keep yourself safe whilst protecting your own music.

The music industry is imbued with copyright laws at every turn but don’t let that put you off as it’s pretty simple to avoid any issues and it’s important to protect your creations. Here are some areas of music copyrights and tips that will help you navigate through the music industry with peace of mind. Please note that these rules apply for digital music and aren’t necessarily the same for physical releases.

Using Samples and Beat Packs

Samples are used in loads of modern music now and the art of sampling has become like it’s own instrument. However sampling another piece of music confuses the issue of ownership because is it the original artist’s property or the person who has re-purposed it in a new way?

Any sample of another person’s copyrighted material no matter how short or abstracted you make it is still technically their property and you will need a legal license to release them in any monetised capacity. To legally use samples you will either need to get in contact with the creator/rightsholders directly. Often this will involve dealing with the artist’s label and they will likely expect a fee or royalty percentage in return.

This can be hard especially for hip-hop and electronic producers who use samples a lot. If you’re having trouble acquiring a license try getting creative and recreating the sound with what you have; instruments, vocals, effects, licensed sounds, etc. For example if you have a friend who’s a singer hit them up when you’re looking for a vocal line.

With beat and sample packs which are offered to musicians to use and rework it’s much more simple and you simply need to check whether acquiring that pack gives you full creative rights to use those sounds how you want. Make sure you read the fine-print when you’re purchasing samples or sounds for commercial use.

Song Covers

If you record a cover of someone else’s song then of course, the music industry being what it is, there are some things you need to watch out for to make sure you aren’t slammed with a lawsuit.

When releasing your music to online stores and services you can release covers to Spotify and Deezer around the world as they pay for cover licenses themselves. For other stores and services it’s also fine for most parts of the world but if you are releasing your cover in The United StatesCanadaMexicoPakistan and India then you will be required to get a mechanical license.

You can acquire licenses for those territories from

Covering Your Own Music

So we know what to do when using other peoples music, but how can you make sure that your own music is protected from being stolen and pimped out there in the wide music industry world. Whilst even the biggest artists in the world aren’t fully protected there are a couple of things you can do to safeguard your art.

When you distribute your music online through RouteNote we allow you to add your music to Shazam and YouTube Content ID. Shazam will allow people to find your music easier and will be used in some systems to identify when your music has been used in anything else. YouTube Content ID protects you across the millions of videos on YouTube by scanning every video for any use of your song and monetising it on your behalf.

Beyond that you can register your work with your country’s Copyright Office to get legal cover that proves your work is your property and will protect you were anyone to use it illegally.

Extra Info

Copyright laws last for the life of the creator and then for another 70 years after their death. So you won’t be able to sample any Michael Jackson any for a good 60 years or so but trawl through old soul tunes and you’re sure to find something.

Ensuring your music is protected doesn’t just stop other people from using it but it also ensures that your rights as the creator are secured so that it is yours to distribute, release, modify – however you like.

Learning piano is simple when you have a Really Useful poster

Learning an instrument is hard but should but worth it and this single wall poster may be the step you need to start playing the piano.

What can just one poster do? Well if it’s the Really Useful poster then it could potentially teach you everything you need to get started playing the piano. Big enough to fit in loads of vital lessons, small enough to hang on the wall just above your piano/keyboard, just the right size to master the basics of piano scales and chords.

The Really Useful Poster Company have just 1 mission – “to make piano playing and music composition more fun, and more accessible to all”. The poster features 48 separate scales (major, natural minor, melodic minor and harmonic minors), 60 individual chords and much more on music theory which provides a comprehensive introduction into how music works and how that applies on all those black and white keys.

The Really Useful Piano Poster comes in A1 and a range of printing options so that you can decide the thickness of your gloss paper and whether it comes folded or rolled. In the future they hope to release a deluxe edition, special edition, and a classroom version in A0 size.

Whether you’re looking to take up a new hobby, starting your journey towards a virtuoso, or just need some help when putting chords into your tracks the Really Useful Piano poster is, well… really useful! The Really Useful Piano Poster is currently raising money on Kickstarter here. Secure yours now for as low as £13 here:

Going to gigs makes you live longer and happier, study finds

Make sure that you’re going to see live music regularly if you want to live a long and happy life, says science.

A new study by Goldsmith’s University Associate Lecturer, Patrick Fagan, and commissioned by O2 has discovered some great news about gigs. Their report investigated the effect of watching live music found that it could have such a positive effect that you could live for nine years longer than non-concert lovers.

The report showed that just 20 minutes spent at a gig could result in a 21% increase in feelings of wellbeing. Beyond the happiness factor their study also shows that going to see live music every fortnight could increase life expectancy by a whopping 9 years thanks to it’s powerful effect on mental wellbeing.

Key markers were noted alongside the 21% increase in feelings of wellbeing. This elevated mood was linked with a 25% rise in feelings of self worth, a 25% increase in closeness to others, and mental stimulation was shown to grow by an incredible 75%.

Patrick Fagan, an expert in behavioural science and associate lecturer at Goldsmith’s University, said: “Our research showcases the profound impact gigs have on feelings of health, happiness and wellbeing – with fortnightly or regular attendance being the key. Combining all of our findings with O2’s research, we arrive at a prescription of a gig a fortnight which could pave the way for almsot a decade more years of life.”

Surveys also correlate with the findings in the study with over two-thirds (67%) of Brits saying that live music makes them feel happier compared with listening to music at home or alone. So if you’re looking to live a long, healthy, and happy life then you had better start booking tickets to some more gigs.

8 of the best and most popular Hip-Hop sample packs

Hip-Hop and R&B is now the most popular genre in the world, here are some of the greatest sounds that are making the hits of this generation.

Last year Hip-Hop/R&B overtook rock as the most popular genre in the world for the first time ever. To celebrate the rise of a new genre Producer Loops have compiled the most popular packs of samples that are helping to make Hip-Hop the landmark genre it is now with sounds from soulful modern hip-hop to the 808 days of old – and they could all be yours!

8. Bang Bang

These Kits are filled with ambient arps, heart-stopping chords, booming 808’s and ear-grasping snares. The pack contains five booming Construction Kits made in the style of up-and-coming rapper, Chief Keef and super producer, Young Chop.

7. Cinematic Hip-Hop Vol 1

Next up is ‘Cinematic Hip Hop Vol 1’ from Producer Loops. This is the first in a Block-busting series of deep, dark and brooding Construction Kit libraries fusing the very best in modern Hip Hop with epic soundtrack vibes. Combining traditional Urban instrumentation with ethereal textures, emotive sound design and dramatic overtones, this genre-defying release is perfect for everything from advertising campaigns that need a serious Urban edge, through to soundtracks and standalone Hip Hop releases.

6. Hip-Hop Soul Piano Melodies

Coming in at number six is ‘Hip Hop Soul Piano Melodies’ from Strategic Audio. This pack features five authentic, piano-driven Hip Hop Construction Kits inspired by the music of artists like Common, Alicia Keys, The Roots and Melanie Fiona.

5. West Coast Wave Vol 1

‘West Coast Wave Vol 1’ is next, the debut sample pack from Diginoiz. It features 10 great Construction Kits inspired by the hot climate of West coast America. High quality loops, hits, and percussion samples in tempos from 89-97 BPM will satisfy even the most demanding producers.

4. Cinematic Hip-Hop Vol 2

‘Cinematic Hip Hop Vol 2’ is the second instalment in this epic, silver screen-esque series of Construction Kits from Producer Loops. Following in the footsteps of its immensely successful predecessor, this Volume features all the dark instrumentation you need to dominate the dark Hip-Hop scene.

3. Lo-Fi Vol 1

Just making it into the top three is ‘Lo-Fi Vol 1’ from Kryptic Samples. It is the first release of this soulful, laid-back Hip Hop series,made with hand crafted nostalgic and dusty samples. Authentic and old school.

2. Urban Legends Vol 1

At number two, ‘Urban Legends Vol 1’ from Producer Loops fuses elements of EDM, Pop, RnB, Trap and Hip Hop to bring you five highly polished Construction Kits with an authentic Urban undertone.The loops in this pack have applications far outside of strictly Urban music and can be re-combined in a near-limitless number of ways.

1. Symphonic Hip-Hop

Our most downloaded hip-hop sample of all time is ‘Symphonic Hip-Hop’ from Bunker 8. A huge 5.4 GB Construction Kit that merges powerful symphonic arrangements and orchestrations with block busting hip-hop rhythmatics. There are 347 seriously hot loops here, waiting for your next urban blockbuster.

You can find many more great sample packs at